Tuesday, September 16, 2014

how to style a coffee table vignette

This year I am moving things around, trying to do more with what I already have.  I created this tablescape for my outdoor coffee table and thought I would share how it developed.  

I have had the marble tray for years and have never managed to style it up quite how it looked in the store.  This vignette is working much better than the tray on its own, and it was quick and inexpensive to achieve.  I already had the small glass vase and marble flower plate, I only added a larger size glass vase (a steal at $16) and bought the succulent at a street market.   You can see below how it started out and how I built it up.

Two vases, one taller and wider (both from my favourite variety store), and the gorgeous succulent to add colour and texture.  The flower plate has been in my bathroom with a candle on it, but is far prettier here. 

It's still evolving, I think the candle is to pale, perhaps another succulent?  But overall I am really enjoying the effect.  Especially like that the succulent will be happy in the winter sunlight and won't need to be replaced for months.

So pleased that I moved all these things around and tried something new.  Turns out that a change was all that tray needed to go from flat to fantastic.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

living room update...the new couch is finally here

After months of waiting, an the first couch being delivered with the chaise on the wrong side, the new couch is finally here.   Its amazing how different this room feels, so much larger even though the couch is pretty huge.  My new favourite space is the end of the chaise next to the fire, every body in the family has their favourite spot and its plenty big enough for all of us to stretch out on.  Success!  And I was really nervous that it wasn't going to work.

Today the coffee table has white wax flowers on it, in my white makeover vase (see diy here) and copper candlestick (still to do a diy for this one).  Soft and pretty, would prefer tulips really but the tulips were all too far opened for me to buy.

I have moved the cat painting that was on the back wall to behind the dining table, much better, but now this space is crying out for something else.  I may have to try my hand at making something myself.
I still can't believe the transformation, the space finally makes sense (see how it was below).  But I do think it needs some of that green back.  A home is never finished is it, just an ever evolving space.
The best change is that when we had people over recently, everybody sat in the living room.  Before they would sit at the table or the kitchen counter.  And with the fab new couch there was space for everybody!!

Have a lovely weekend everybody

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

inspired by scandi summer houses

So we are the proud owners of a small, and ugly, cottage in the country.  We want to give it a small make over (small budget but big ideas) and get it ready for holidays and weekends.  I am thinking that perhaps if we painted the outside black with white trim it might transform from ugly duckling to Scandi summer house.  I love the simplicity of the colours and the way they sit in the greenery.  Black never looks dirty and the white trim brightens things up, well you know how I love the Scandi details.  
Wouldn't we all love a dining room like this one (see the rest of this Danish cabin here).  The black and white continues from outside to the interior but flips around, white walls with black accents.  On right black timber cladding is at the heart of this traditional Scandi look.
Green brings the colour scheme to life, detail of the Black Barn retreat in Hawkesbay, and outdoor area.  Porters Paints Palm Beach Black will get you that look.

At left: another gorgeous Danish summer house, complete with sod roof, (top right) detail of a sunny outdoor spot, and another sod roof beaty.

My grandparents owned a small home in the Netherlands and I although I never saw it I like to think it was something like one of these.

Perfect colours: Dulux Lexicon Quarter White, Porters Paint Palm Beach Black, fresh greenery outdoors

Friday, September 5, 2014

pretty pretty things

Some lovely things I have spotted recently.  Loving these soft colours, the mix of textures, the muted metallics, the sense of calm they create.  Perhaps its the rough ride that my day job has given me these past few months but I find I am needing the feeling of calm in at least one space in my home.  Enjoy...

Images from top: 

1. Bedroom detail from The Veda House Blog.  Veda House is a new find for me, a gorgeous blog of shoots by photographer and stylist Cassie.  Well worth stopping by.  This bedroom was from a collaboration with Caitlin Wilson textiles.  See more detail of the gorgeous pillow below.

2. Detail of a flower shoot on the West Elm blog.  A gorgeous post on how to take photo's of flowers, and you know how much I love flowers!  Worth a visit to see the rest of the pics too.

3. Love this kitchen via kk living, photo by All Over Press Norway.  Clean white cupboards, a gorgeous old table, wooden floors, a bit of crystal and a kilim rug.  All my favourite things...

4. At left a detail of a gorgeous kitchen styled by Home Beautiful Magazine, designed by architects Robson Rak.  Textures again, marble and wood, I love this space.  At right a pretty as can be nursery with colour swatch rug.  I love this space, pink but not too pink, neutral but not boring.  In a crazy instance of synchronicity this is a detail of a different house designed by Robson Rak, with design by Made by Cohen.

5. And lastly below another look at those gorgeous fabrics by Caitlin Wilson that feature in the bedroom detail.  I would love to add them to my bedroom scheme.  And at right a rather amazing gold finish cow hide available from Citta Designs.  Pricey but pretty pretty!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

make over delight...ugly to pretty with spray paint

This little beauty was discovered in the mark down bin at Freedom, but that was before it got a make-over.  The shape was really good and reminded me of the white Scandi style vessels that have been so popular this season, but the terracotta was ugly!  Popped into Bunnings on the way home, bought some white spray paint, and that very evening that ugly vase was reborn a swan.


  • Use an old cardboard box as a spraying booth.
  • Stand the vase on a small wood offcut so that the spray doesn't pool at the base.  (You can always spray the base separately.)

A lovely addition to a white on white display I am trying to build.
And that's why I can never pass up a quick look at the mark down table.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What’s the difference between a stylist and a designer, & which one do I need for my home?

People often refer to me as a designer which isn’t exactly true. I am a stylist or a decorator.  I don’t have much interest in where the walls and floors of a house go, I much prefer coming into a finished home and working with my clients on the furniture, soft furnishings, the finishing touches for their home.

So what’s the difference between the two? The way I see it is we work together to make each other look better. 
  • A designer reworks the bones of the house to make the space work
  • The stylist waves a magic wand and provides the finishing touches to make a well designed house look like an inviting home.
Stylists do presentation and the finishing touches, such as:
  • Sourcing soft furnishings such as fabrics for curtains or cushions, rugs and linen. 
  • Refreshing your furniture layout and suggesting new pieces to suit the room
  • Accessing trade suppliers and often passing on their trade discounts to you
  • Suggesting paint and colour options throughout the home
  • Presenting you with fresh ideas for your home that you can execute in your own time.  This is something I’m big on.  I like my clients to have input so the final result is a reflection of the households personalities, it’s not about my ego and portfolio.  You need to be happy with where you live, after all I’m not going to be living there!
  • Events styling - bridal and baby showers, dessert tables for a dinner party or birthday celebrations
  • Magazine or catalogue shoots 

Designers do design concepts, detailed drawings for trades:
  • New kitchen or bathroom designs
  • Full renovations
  • Custom joinery design and finish specifications
  • Detailed CAD drawings for trades to use
  • Space planning for each room of the home
  • Advice on working within council guidelines so your renovation plans are approved faster
Designers are a bit like the undergarments of an outfit for the house and a stylist is the statement jacket, scarf and accessories - you need both to create a harmonious and balanced look. 

So if you’re about to start major renovations where you’re moving walls, knocking out the kitchen and bathroom or completely demolishing the house a designer is the right person for your job. If you’re happy with the functionality of the rooms in your home but just need to give the home a refresh and some loving then a stylist/decorator is who you need. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dipped basket diy with Annie Sloan chalk paint

So pleased with this quick and easy project with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM), instant gratification diy at its best.  I was sent a can of Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM) chalk paint to try out, and decided to update Miss E's laundry basket with this years must have dipped look.  The paint absolutely lived up to its reputation, went on very easily with no preparation and only needed one coat and half an hour to dry before it was ready to go back in the bathroom.  
I have been wanting to buy a new laundry basket for this space for ages, its never been high on the priority list.  No need any more, I love the finished basket, and looks like I bought it in a high end homeware store.

To do yourself:

  • Simply tape an old basket or vase with blue tape (low tac masking tape)
  • Paint with Annie Sloan chalk paint, I used Old White
  • Top tip: put basket upside down so that you can paint the base easily
  • Ta da! You are done

Total time from inspiration to completion 1 hour

My lovely hubby made the incredible shelf mirror above the basin for me last week.  Its also painted with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan (TM), then buffed with soft wax, giving it a lovely aged look.
A sprig of green vygie from my garden just finished it off.  Its now my favourite bathroom in the house.

This post was not sponsored, I was provided with Annie Sloan chalk paint to test out, but all opinions are as always my own.  Watch our for my next Annie Sloan make over which is taking a little longer but is going to be fabulous too.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Success! Fireplace before and after!

We are loving the gas fireplace from Real Flame.  I do miss the smell of wood smoke, and the sound of wood crackling and popping as it burns, but I surely do love flicking the switch on and off when ever I want to.  The cement shelf feature makes perfect sense of the end of the room, its hard to imagine it wasn't always like this.  Thanks to my amazing hubby for making this happen.

You got to love it when a design turns out like you wanted it to.  The new new couch arrives in a few weeks (the first one arrived with the bench on the wrong side) and I will take some photo's of the whole room when it does.

The shelf is finished with cement render and we love the finish, adding the cement was the one piece Mr B hired in help for, we were worried about getting a really good finish.  The rest, including the gorgeous timber detail above the fire, was designed and built by him.  Just love it, especially this chilly winter!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

get this look...a little bit industrial, a little bit country

I love this kitchen with its mix of country and industrial.  What a really like is that this look could be created, quite realistically, on a small budget.  See below for what I would pick to create this look in your own home.

Replica Eames chairs, 6 for $390 
Yes I know replica is a little touchy but at $65 or less a chair they are a super classic bargain.

Tranetorp extendable table $299
Black or white would both work well, you could use a trestle table too.

Tom Dixon Lustre Black Ceramic Pendants, from $135
A little less used than the ones in the original picture, and I prefer the shapes too.

Subway tiles from $65 a metre, around $350 for a normal size back splash.

Glass vases and flowers (these Iceland poppies were photographed by Leslie at A Creative Mint), lots of white crockery, and the occasional collectible finish it of.
You can get similar industrial look cupboards and shelves at Ikea, but plain white would work just as well.

A really achievable look, and the main elements will cost you less than $1500.
(Top photo via Blood and Champagne, I can't find the original unfortunately.)